Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rest In Peace Aunt Virginia

There are certain people in our families who are special in many ways. They may not have achieved fame or fortune or even performed tasks of great renown but their presence in the family circle was welcomed and cherished. This was the case with my special Aunt Virginia. I cannot remember a time in my life when she was not there for me, always ready to talk or listen and to offer advice or just friendship. Her long life ebbed slowly away this week and in her memory, I feel that she deserves her own special tribute.

Virginia Edna Reske was born August 22, 1918 in Detroit, Michigan to John and Anna, nee Becker, Reske. She was their first surviving child though an older daughter, Julia, had passed away at a young age. At the time of the 1920 census in Detroit, the Reske family was living on E. Canfield Avenue and the family consisted of John and Anna with their baby daughter Virginia. Living with the family as well were Anna's father and brother as well as a boarder.

By the time of the 1930 Detroit census, the Reske family had grown to include Virginia, John, Delphine and Eugene and they still lived on E. Canfield Avenue.

They were a Polish American family with both John and Anna having been born in the US but with a definite Polish heritage. The family were devout Catholics who practiced their faith making sure that their children did as well.

By 1939, Virginia was now a 21 year old young lady who enjoyed going to the movies with her girlfriends. It was at the Rialto Theatre on Gratiot and Mt. Elliott Avenues in Detroit that she met Melbourne Schulte. Mel was working as an usher at the Rialto Theatre and shone his flashlight down the row of seats where Virginia was sitting, admired her legs and a romance began that would continue for over 70 years.

Virginia and Mel enjoyed outdoor activities as well as family holidays with his Schulte family as these photos show.

Virginia Reske
ca 1939

Virginia Reske
ca 1939

Virginia Reske & Gertrude Kolberg
Christmas, 1939

Virginia Reske & Melbourne Schulte
ca 1940

On November 15, 1941 Virginia Reske and Melbourne Schulte were married at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Detroit. They participated in a double wedding that day along with their good friends, Dorothy Voelker and Russ Stickney as this photo will show. Unfortunately it is the only photo I have of their wedding.

Ariel view of wedding of Virginia Reske & Melbourne Schulte
November 15, 1941
Mt. Zion Lutheran Church
Detroit, MI

Marrying into a German Lutheran family did not particularly please Virginia's staunch Polish Catholic parents but in time the Reske family came to embrace the Schulte family. At the time of their wedding, however, Virginia's parents were unable to attend because Virginia's mother was giving birth to a son, Fred at the precise time of the wedding of her eldest daughter.

The Second World War was in progress and Melbourne joined the US Navy and went to the Pacific to serve leaving Virginia at home in Detroit where she lived with Mel's parents. In December, 1943 Virginia gave birth to their son, Melbourne, Jr. while her husband was overseas. By 1944 the family was complete with baby Mel.

Virginia & Melbourne Schulte
with infant son, Melbourne, Jr.
ca 1944

My earliest memories of my aunt are from my childhood and though I don't remember these particular events she was an integral part of my life from the day I was born.

Virginia & Cheryl Schulte
ca 1949

Melbourne Jr., Virginia & Cheryl Schulte
ca 1949

Virginia & Melbourne Sr Schulte
with Cheryl & Melbourne Jr Schulte
ca 1952

Virginia did work for a time as a sales clerk at the former Winkleman's Department Store in Detroit but the primary focus of her life was as a wife and mother. She was social and sociable and entertained guests in her home frequently.

Melbourne & Virginia Schulte
ca 1970

Melbourne & Virginia Schulte
April, 1981

She was widely known for her family favorite baked beans though she never could master cookie baking. I particularly remember when I was 11 years old and a pretty good baker of cut-out cookies. I went over to my aunt and uncle's home, along with my baking supplies and cookie cutters and proceeded to make a batch of these cookies for them. I can remember my cousin, Mel, Jr. who was then 16 years old sitting at the table with his chin in his hands watching me cut out these cookies. For her entire life my aunt proclaimed my cut out cookies her ultimate favorite and looked forward to my packages of cookies that I would frequently mail to her once she and my uncle were living in Arizona. It didn't matter if they arrived broken or not because she enjoyed them in any condition and liked to state that she would not share them with anyone else.

Throughout her long life, my Aunt Virginia suffered from numerous physical health issues with accompanying severe head and neck pains. Despite continual physician visits and consultations she continued to suffer and was wheelchair bound the last 15 years of her life. However her mental health remained intact and she could carry on a conversation with the best of people regarding politics, health care issues, financial issues and other such topics. She also was one of my best resources for memories of my grandfather and grandmother Schulte's families more so than my uncle was considering these were HIS family lines. Her mind remained sharp and her memories clear her entire life.

Melbourne & Virginia Schulte
Sierra Vista, AZ

Yesterday, September 5 (Labor Day), 2011, my beloved and special Aunt went to her heavenly home. I had spoken with her only a few days earlier but it was obvious that her body was finally giving out on her. I know she is at peace and suffering no longer but her presence in my life will be greatly missed.

She leaves behind to mourn her passing her husband of near 70 years, Melbourne Schulte of Sierra Vista, AZ, son Melbourne Jr and wife, Mary Schulte of Mt. Clemens, MI, three grandsons, Scott, Robert and Christopher Schulte, one great-grandson Kyle Schulte, three great-granddaughters, Savannah, Shelby and Jessa Schulte. She also leaves three step-grandchildren, John, Thomas and Joan Burgess along with their combined 6 children. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Anna Reske, her sisters Julia Reske and Delphine Sexton, her brothers John and Eugene Reske, her baby grandson Jason Schulte and her goddaughter, Kathy Schulte.

I will never forget her!

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kramp Family Inquiry from Germany

I am always excited when I see German readers in my Site Meter and hold out hope that someone is reading something of interest to THEM which will motivate them to contact me.

The other day I had an interesting e-mail as follows:

my name is Shari and i am 17 years old and i come from germany, so i am sorry for my english ;-)
this article is amazing! a few weeks ago i started to find out something about my familiy, about my grand-grandma and so on. well, her name was Bertha Kramp, too. Her husband named August and they lived in the todays poland, so pommern. when i read this article i thought: oh my gosh, this cannot be true, could it? are YOU part of my family?
i am a litte bit shocked right now ;-) but something doesnt fit in this wohle thing: the daughter of my grand-grandma Bertha Kramp, named Waltraud Kramp... do you might forgot a child? i dont know.. but if you leave this thing out, everything fits! its unbelivable.

maybe you could sent me a mail with your answer? i would be very very pleased!


I can feel this Shari's excitement and how I wish I had developed an interest in genealogy at the age of 17. I would have had so many more opportunities to quiz 3 of my grandparents as to their memories.

Unfortunately, Shari posted a comment on my blog as "anonymous" and did not give an e-mail address. There is no way for me to contact her.

Shari - if you are reading this, contact me again but include an e-mail address. I would certainly respond to you if I had a way to do so.

Hopefully, I will hear from this young girl again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Life on Lake Michigan

My mother was born and grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. Over the years of her childhood her family lived in many different homes, all of which were within walking distance of the Lake. It, therefore, stood to reason that there would be many photos of her and/or her family taken during activities at the beach/Lake. Not so!

A few days ago I told my mother that I wanted to write a blog post for the
"4th Annual Swimsuit Edition" of Jasia's COG . We had, over the last year, sorted out the thousands of photos that I have and divided them by surnames. This was the first step in what I envision as a massive scanning and computerizing project. I asked my mother if she wanted to go through the photos of her Kijak family and pull out some for me of swimsuits or activities at Lake Michigan. She didn't seem to think there would be any photos of such events because she reminded me again that she and my grandmother had a deep fear of the water (ever since my mother's younger brother almost drowned) and they never went near the Lake. I persisted, though, and told her I knew there was an old photo of her in a bathing suit at maybe 2 or 3 years of age. The search began.

After several hours of her searching, I went back to see what had been uncovered. Immediately I saw the photo that I had remembered and told my mother - "there it is" to which she laughed and told me "that isn't ME, that's my older brother at 2 years old". The joke was on me but the picture is great and definitely dates back.

Here is a photo of my uncle, Elden Jay Kijak, at approximately 2 years old in 1920 in St. Joseph. Perhaps the family had been to the Lake, I don't know, but at the time they did live in downtown St. Joseph within walking distance of the beach. My grandparents had been married in 1914 and had son, Harris, in 1915 and son, Elden, in 1918. There was a large extended family and I can imagine they did have some picnics and such at the beach.

Elden Jay Kijak
ca 1920, St. Joseph, MI

In any event, the photo is darling and worthy of this post. By 1927, there were 4 children in the family including my mother, Eloris, who was born in 1925 and younger brother, Leslie, born in 1926. This photo is perhaps the only one I have of my mother and her 3 siblings together in a photograph.

Harris and Elden Kijak
Leslie Kijak (in highchair) and Eloris Kijak (sitting on step)
ca 1927, St. Joseph, MI

Today my mother and I live in St. Joseph and I must confess that we don't go into the Lake or take advantage even of the pool in our condo complex. Fears of water can be passed on and my mother certainly did that to me as well. But it is lovely living near the Lake, walking along the shore and sitting and watching the view. I may even go so far as to get my feet wet (perhaps even to my ankles) but that is it!

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Genealogy Research Then or Now?

In my "olden" days (way back in the mid 1970's) genealogy research was performed vastly differently than it is now. Was it easier then or harder compared to the resources available today? Let's take a look:

In 1976 when I began genealogy research, I used a steno pad, a supply of pens, my car to drive to and from various repositories and good, ole elbow grease. I spent hours in the Mt. Clemens Library genealogy section sitting before a microfilm reader spinning records upon records of my paternal ancestors. I visited the Burton Library in Detroit periodically also searching for paternal ancestral information. I copied all these records into my steno pad. I visited local cemeteries and took photos of gravestones, read records in cemetery offices and recorded information in my steno pad. I made trips back and forth to Berrien County to stand in the Vital Records division of the County Clerk's office and copied record upon record of my maternal ancestors, visited cemeteries there and actually visited with cousins of my grandmother to ascertain more information. The furthest that I traveled was either to Bay County or Berrien County, each no more than several hours away from my home at the time in the Detroit suburbs. Total money spent on these endeavors was minimal other then (very low) gasoline costs. I was able to learn the ancestral villages of the majority of my 8 major surnames going back to my great-grandparents. It was fun, exciting and very rewarding.

In 1980 I began inputting my information by typing, on a manual typewriter, all my data into the LDS genealogy forms which were the premier medium at that time. I lived in a very small apartment at the time and remember my card table/kitchen table which served as the place I ate and the place I typed.

In the mid-1980's I began mailing away for vital records mainly from the Michigan archives. Costs at that time were $2.00 per record and I amassed binders full of data on each of my 8 ancestral surnames. I followed advice in the Genealogical Helper magazine at the time and crossed the ocean to Germany finding records and information on my ancestors from that country. True it took weeks, sometimes months to get results but the bonuses were exciting with envelopes in the mail with German stamps. There is no excitement like seeing a personal letter from a church in the (then) DDR with information on a 3rd or 4th great grandparent taking my research back to the 1700's.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Now we have personal computers, scanners, the Internet with Google and a wealth of genealogy sites and information at our fingertips to be accessed in private in our pajamas with instant results and gratification. We can scan old photos and restore them with great photo software, we can access European archives through Ancestry.com and other sites, some with hefty fees, others free. We can order microfilm records from the LDS and read them at a local LDS stake and find records upon records of interest to our research.

The best perk to this century of resources is the possibility of connecting with others researching our same surname or, even better, finding long lost relatives. That is huge and cannot be minimized. I, myself, have had great success with finding relatives in Germany who share my interest in our mutual family line. This can't be beat.

Is it better and easier now to do genealogy research than it was in the 1970's and 1980's? I don't know what the answer would be. There certainly were benefits to getting out in the field and trekking to find records, waiting for results and the joy of finally getting a positive response. That doesn't undermine the excitement of clicking on Ancestry and finding an instant pension record or census record that answers a long lost question.

Taken all together, I have to admit that I have done wonderfully in these 30+ years in getting results. I have visited Germany and Poland and walked the paths that my ancestors walked in their home villages and imagined what their lives were like then. I have connected with closely related family members during this research and connected with many other researchers searching my surnames and ancestral villages.

One of my favorite success stories was when, after years of searching for a death date and location of burial in Detroit of a German immigrant ancestor and coming up blank, I actually found the death information in of all places - Germany and learned that this ancestor and her husband had taken a trip back to her homeland, when she was at an advanced age, and learned that she and her husband both passed away there and were buried in Germany.

It is definitely true that we can go further in our research and faster, too, with all the resources available to us. Imagine how much further this can take us in the future!

Can we get back to Adam & Eve!!!! Interesting thought, don't you think? Who wants to be the first to try?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War Ancestor? A New Mystery!

Yesterday when viewing my latest newsletter from Ancestry I noted an article regarding the Civil War and the upcoming 150th anniversary of this US historical event. Not having any ancestors that served in the Civil War, I quickly discounted the article and went on with the remainder of the newsletter. Though I have been an active genealogist since the 70's (1970's that is!) I never have studied, researched or otherwise been involved with seeking out Civil War data.

However, though I ignored the article on the Civil War, a little bird was whispering in my ear throughout the day. I suddenly remembered the box of war medals that my paternal grandmother Schulte had grudgingly given me in the 1980's. I was the only granddaughter but none of my male cousins, nor my brother, had any interest in these medals and I finally managed to get my grandmother to let me take them. There were medals from my great-grandfather, Rudolph Schulte, who served in the Spanish American War and medals from my grandfather, Elmer Schulte, who had served in WWI. I created some shadow boxes and these medals are now displayed in my home.

Somehow the thought kept coming to me that there were some other medals in that box that my grandmother kept and these had the wording of "The Grand Army of the Republic". I did learn that this organization was a fraternal organization comprised of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the Civil War.
I asked my grandmother at the time where these medals had originated and she stated she didn't remember. I will confess that my grandmother was not totally immersed in my family quests, and while she did help me some, more times than not she gave me inaccurate information. When I would later uncover the accurate facts and ask her about them, she would confess that she had not told me the truth because she wanted me to "let sleeping dogs lie".

The majority of my ancestors did not arrive in the US until after 1870, long after the end of the Civil War. However, my Feucht ancestors WERE in the US in the mid-1850's though I just assumed that my second great-grandfather, Jacob Feucht, never would have served in the Civil War as he was married with several children at that time. That may have been a mistake because we should never assume anything in doing research!

Yesterday my thoughts started to expand and I decided to go on Ancestry and search the Civil War draft registers on a whim to see if my Jacob Feucht would be listed. Imagine my surprise when I found the following entry:

There definitely is an entry for a Jacob Feucht. The information contained in the draft register is mainly of a general nature, and while the data does match up with MY Jacob Feucht, I wonder if I can definitely say this is my ancestor.

My second great-grandfather Johann Jacob Feucht (known as Jacob) was born August 11, 1826 in Tamm, Ludwigsburg, Wuerttemberg, Germany. He came to the US in the mid-1850's and on February 20, 1859 married Magdalena Helena Bauer (known as Helena) at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit, MI (now Historic Trinity Lutheran Church).

The draft registration does match, basically, with my Jacob. It does show an 1863 draft in Hillsdale, MI (near to Detroit) of a 34 year old white male who is married and who was born in Germany and who is listed as a laborer. My Jacob Feucht was 34/35 at that time, married, born in Germany and the 1870 census shows Jacob listed as a laborer. Neither the 1870 or 1880 US census records from Detroit show any information on former military service so those census records do not assist a genealogist in determining whether an ancestor did serve.

I am inclined to believe this record is my Jacob Feucht. Jacob's daughter, Julie Feucht, married Rudolph Schulte and following her death, Rudolph married her sister, Elizabeth Feucht, which could explain the Grand Army of the Republic medals in my grandmother Schulte's safekeeping.

I am also wondering, though, whether Jacob Feucht actually served in this War. I searched the other Ancestry records on the Civil War and Jacob's name does not appear though there are two Jacob's listed with a surname that could be considered a variant of Feucht (the name has been massacred greatly in the records I have searched) and those entries show service from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Not having previously researched in any way Civil War records, I am not knowledgeable as to whether individuals could have registered for the draft in Michigan but been assigned to regiments in nearby Ohio or Pennsylvania.

To add to my mystery, Jacob and Helena Feucht had 10 children during the years 1860-1881. The years of birth were 1860, 1861, 1864, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1872, 1875, 1877 and 1881. I noted with interest the frequency with which their children were born BUT there is a 3 year gap from the time daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1861 and daughter, Rosa, was born in 1864. Could it be that father, Jacob, had been serving in the Civil War during that period?

Can I claim a Civil War ancestor? I will need to begin researching this event in US history in more depth to see what further records I can uncover.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Family Gathering by the Car!

I love seeing old photos especially those that contain multiple family members in them. In the realm of genealogy research, an extra plus of connecting with distant cousins is the opportunity to share photos. I am always hoping for photos that are "the older, the better".

I was fortunate to receive many photos from my paternal grandmother, Ella Schulte, and many of the photos came to me via HER mother, Amelia Schluessler Wellhausen. My great-grandmother passed away when I was 16 and I knew her well. Many of my older photos are from my great-grandmother's Schluessler family and just as many are unidentified as to all of the people in the photo and the dates taken. Sometimes it is a bit easier to date a photo if children are included and one can go to their genealogy information and pinpoint a bit better a date that a photo was taken. In other cases, where no children are included, it becomes tougher.

How about dating a photo from the automobile in the snapshot? Maybe that would work. Here are some examples.

My Schluessler family obviously liked family gatherings as I have many group photos in my collection involving different time periods. They evidently also liked taking photos by their auto.

Wilhelm Schluessler, Sr. & Minnie Schluessler Bredow

This photo actually includes my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler, so it was a real prize. Inside the car, sitting in the back seat is my great-grandmother, Amelia Schluessler Wellhausen. Next to her is her brother in law, Ellis Rine (married to her sister, Helena Schluessler Rine) and next to him is Vina Winegard, daughter of Minnie Schluessler Bredow.

Standing outside the car from left to right is Helena Schluessler (sister-in-law of my great-grandmother who was married to William Schluessler, Jr.), followed by Mrs. Charles (Wilhelmina) Bredow, and my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler. Sitting next to him is his sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow, followed by an unknown woman and on the end is Minnie Bredow's son, Charles Bredow.

Here is a different view with my second great-grandfather, Wilhelm Schluessler, and his sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow.

Wilhelm Schluessler and sister, Minnie Schluessler Bredow

Wilhelmina (Minnie) Schluessler was born in March, 1842 in Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern and her brother, Wilhelm Schluessler, was born on June 25, 1845 in Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern. They were the children of Christian Frederick Schluessler and Wilhelmina Krumbach who were from the neighboring village of Neuenfeld, Kreis Pasewalk, Pommern. All came at varying times to the US and settled in the Macomb County area of Michigan.

While I am not knowledgeable as to what type of car this was and what time period this would have been from I do know that the photo was taken between 1913 and 1932. My second great-grandmother, Amelia Schauer Schluessler - wife of the above Wilhelm Schluessler - is not pictured and she passed away in 1913. Wilhelm himself lived until 1932. I am sure there are readers out there, though, who probably will recognize the car and perhaps would be able to estimate the type and year of the automobile. I am guessing the photo to be from the mid-1920's as I do have other photos of these family members with different automobiles in which children born in the late 20's and early 30's are included.

As an aside to this post, I visited the areas of Neuenfeld and Fahrenwalde in 1993 and took some photos of these ancestral villages which were most difficult to find. If not for my sister-in-law, with her GPS ability (before GPS was around) we would have missed the little paths leading to these villages.

Neuenfeld, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

Fahrenwalde, Kreis Pasewalk, Germany - 1993

It was well worth the effort to search out these towns and walk the paths where my Schluessler ancestors walked more than 100 years earlier.

Above photos from personal collection of Cheryl Schulte

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Woman in History - Perpetua

The topic for the 103rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is "Women's History" in conjunction with National Women's History Month. During the last month, since Jasia announced this topic, I have struggled with just what to write about.

I could certainly write about either of my two grandmothers who I knew well but I have written much about them already on this blog. I could write about any of my four great-grandmothers, one of whom I knew well, but I have also written about them in the past. While they were all great women in their own right, and they were certainly all part of the person that I have become, I could not get a strong vibe to devote this post to one of them.

I decided instead to write about a woman from history. Way back in history to be exact and somebody who was actually born in AD 181. While I would like to claim her in my heritage, I would be one very lucky genealogist if I could trace my family back that far. I will say, though, that her story qualifies her for recognition during National Women's History Month.

No matter your religious preference or non-preference, the Christian noblewomen, Perpetua's story should touch your heart and give you reason for pause.

Perpetua was born AD 181 in Tunis (Tunisia). She was a Christian martyr who wrote "The Passion of Saints" which is a journal recounting her imprisonment and trial and which was continued after her death as a martyr. Both her martyrdom and its account have been highly revered by ancient and modern Christians. This writing of "The Passion of Saints" is one of the rare surviving documents written by a woman in the ancient world.

In Carthage in the 2nd century there was a vibrant Christian community including this young mother, Perpetua, who was the daughter of a prosperous provincial family. Sometime after
AD 201, the Roman emperor of the time forbade conversion to Christianity or Judaism and in AD 203 the governor of Carthage enforced this edict. Perpetua, who was nursing a newborn son, along with four of her companions were arrested. In clear violation of the emperor's edict, all five people were preparing for baptism. They were tried, refused to renounce their faith and were condemned to death in the arena.

At this time, Perpetua began her diary with an account of her imprisonment and continued it with descriptions of her trial and her father's impassioned, but fruitless plea, for her to renounce her Christian identity.

On the evening before her scheduled death, Perpetua gave her diary to another Christian, who then continued the story of the martyrdom of Perpetua and her fellow Christians. He described how one of Perpetua’s companions—the pregnant slave Felicity—gave birth while in prison; he also wrote of the young Christians’ bravery in the arena when they were attacked by wild beasts and, finally, of Perpetua’s voluntary acceptance of death by the sword.

Perpetua’s diary was read annually in Carthage’s churches for centuries. It was so influential that it was praised by Christians and non-Christians alike and 200 years later sermons were still being written commenting on the young martyr’s words. Perpetua’s text, with its powerful, personal voice, continues to draw readers.

Her death on the 7th of March in AD 203 and the later granting of sainthood has assured that her memory continues to be honored.

During Women's History Month it is appropriate that this Christian Saint should be remembered for her courage, commitment to her faith and the lasting memorial she has left for women everywhere.

I will admit that I had never heard of Perpetua before this evening though I was raised in the Lutheran faith and attended 12 years of parochial school. I heard of her tonight at a church meeting where the minister gave a talk on a Woman Christian saint (in honor of Women's History Month) who is honored by the Catholic church, Lutheran church as well as in other denominations. His presentation on Perpetua touched me and gave me the vibe I was looking for to write this post.

How appropriate that my minister would choose to speak in honor of Women's History Month at the same time that I was searching for something to write on this very event!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The 2010 iGene Awards for Two Sides of the Ocean

The COG 102nd edition topic has been named by Jasia and is "The 2010 iGene Awards". I have never participated in an iGene Awards topic and thought it would be interesting to see what I could come up with. Impacting my choices involves the fact that I only posted 17 times in 2010. Come along with me to see what I can contribute....

Best Picture - What was the best old photo that appeared on my blog in 2010?

For this category, I chose the photo of Thomas & Ida Padgett from approximately 1888 that I posted with the topic "Whose Mother Are You?" on Mother's Day, 2010. This portrait came to me via my friend, Karen, who had rescued it along with its old frame from an estate sale. She had intended to remove the portrait, discard it and sell the frame at her antique booth. She was only too glad to pass it along to me instead when I expressed dismay that a lovely old portrait would be destroyed. Not only did I rescue the portrait but I researched the people in the photo, contacted their great-granddaughter who had sold the portrait and did some extensive research on the lives of Thomas & Ida. It was a most rewarding journey.

Best Screen Play - Which family story from 2010 would make the best movie? Who would I cast as my family members?

Best Comedy - Which was the best funny story that I wrote in 2010?

My screen play would be a comedy and would involve my post on "There's One In Every Family...The Jokester" which appeared on November 28, 2010. This post told the humorous antics of my uncle and godfather, Melbourne Schulte, along with photos of his various hi-jinks and hilarity. The main characters in this comedy would be my uncle and I feel that James Garner would be an appropriate actor to portray him. Why? Because James Garner is my favorite actor of that age range, he is darned good looking still and I especially liked his comic antics in such movies as "Move Over Darling" and "The Thrill of It All", both movies with Doris Day.

To portray my aunt in the movie, the woman who was willing to get married on the start of hunting season in Michigan, willing (?) to spend her honeymoon at a hunting cabin while her bridegroom went hunting, who was willing to put up with anniversaries with her husband off hunting and who has just celebrated her 69th anniversary with her husband would be Peggy McCay as she is one of my favorite actresses of that age range, she has played a long suffering wife on "Days of our Lives" and she has the wit and backbone to laugh at her circumstances but also show some toughness in putting her man in place from time to time.

Best Biography - What was the best biographical article I wrote in 2010?

My submission for best biographical article would be my post on "Religious Rites in my Family" which was posted on November 1, 2010. In this post, I detailed extensively the various confirmations in my family, with one baptism, complete with photos and details on the religion that the majority of my family have participated in.

Best Documentary - Which was the best informational article I wrote involving my family's history in 2010?

Saving the "best for the last" in my humble opinion would be my 9 part series on "The Family Kolberg/Colberg". This series covered a time span of 25+ years of my research on the history of my Kolberg family from Klein Tuchen, Kreis Bütow, Pommern and my efforts on tracing the 7 sons of my great-great grandparents, Friedrich-Wilhelm Colberg and his wife, Henriette Amalie Kautz. In this series I cross the ocean to Germany, discover a fellow genealogical cousin there and together we combine our efforts to reach success on tracing 6 of the 7 Colberg/Kolberg brothers. This would be my favorite post of all time from my blog and definitely my favorite from 2010.

I hope all my readers enjoy my selections for my 2010 iGene awards and come along for the ride.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My 2011 Genealogy Plan

Ok, resolution time is upon us on this first day of the year. I don't do resolutions as they put undue stress on me but I was intrigued by Jasia's Carnival Blog subject for the first Carnival of Genealogy for 2011 - "Describe your Genealogy/Research Plan for 2011". I am going with the thought that a "plan" is not a resolution.

I have been involved in genealogy since the mid 1970's. Yep, way back then when I was just a child, (ok, TK and I were both children, right TK?). Back in those days, there were no personal computers, family history software or the Internet and my research consisted of leg work visiting cemeteries, county buildings, libraries, writing multitudes of letters, etc and typing up my results on the old LDS family history sheets.

I started out with lofty plans involving researching all 8 surnames of my great-grandparents so I had stacks and stacks of typed Family History sheets, documents, and as the years went by, many photos that I acquired as my reputation as the family historian became more pronounced and multitudes of cousins shared information with me.

Where are all these materials now? I was organized - of a sort. I used an individual envelope box for each surname (the type of boxes that 500 #10 envelopes came in), some surnames required more than one box but they were all the same shape and size of boxes with the surnames neatly labeled on the ends and all stacked up on shelves.

In 1998, I decided that Family Tree Maker was my software of choice and I would start inputting this data in the computer. I chose the surname in which I had the most information which is my Kolberg family. The reason for that choice was that my mother and I were planning a 1999 Kolberg family reunion and I wanted to have all that data computerized so that I could print out a huge family chart. It took just shy of 12 months for me to computerize all that data in FTM and I admit that I slacked greatly on sourcing my information. Well, that is another subject for another time.

Since that time nothing else has been computerized. And being an over-fussy person I have been debating just how to bring order to the chaos (though neat chaos) that are my genealogy files.

I have upgraded to FTM 2011 and installed that on both my desktop and my new laptop in a different file from my old FTM 2006. I have installed Picasa and my Paint Shop Pro on the laptop as well and have installed Drop Box on both computers.

Now, the plan.....

I will begin inputting into FTM and start with the surname that I have the least information on which is my Rubis family. By starting with the smallest amount of data, I hope I get motivated to continue. I am going to be scanning all the documents and photos that I have on this surname as well (very few photos and a minimal amount of documents on this Polish surname) and will be placing the originals on heavy bond paper, sliding them into archival sheet protectors for final placement in designated 3-ring binders.

That is the plan; let's see if I can get going...